Short stay: Grosvenor House Suites by Jumeirah Living, Park Lane, London, UK
Situated on London’s exclusive Park Lane, overlooking iconic Hyde Park, Grosvenor House Suites by Jumeirah Living offers contemporary luxury residences just moments from all the best that London has to offer. With a level of sophistication and elegance that is not overly-stuffy, this special hotel perfectly combines the refined beauty of a historic London building with modern, contemporary design.
Don’t be deceived by the rather modest entrance to Grosvenor House Suites which consists of doors either side of the corner where Park Lane meets Mount Street. It doesn’t have the grandeur of some of London’s most well-known five star hotel entrances but therein lies its charm – nothing is overstated.
Inside we were met with a warm welcome from the concierge desk before being escorted in the lift up to the calm and tranquillity of the main reception on the first floor, away from the hustle and bustle of London’s streets, where we were greeted with refreshment drinks and hot towels.
From there we made our way to suite 205 on the second floor following the almost futuristic corridor where the entrances to each suite are so invitingly wide that they could be mistaken for lift entrances. Be careful not to get muddled!
To call the accommodation a room – or indeed a suite for that matter – is doing it an injustice and the term ‘residence’ seems more fitting. Afterall, this is what is offered here – your own prestigious London residences with Hyde Park or Mayfair views that are fully fitted with en suite bathrooms, full kitchen facilities and yet still boasting all the services of a five star hotel.
Ours was a 2-bedroom residence with views across Park Lane and to Hyde Park beyond. Each bedroom had the same layout – one configured as a double and the other as a twin.
This is a perfect set-up for families of four, with three-bedroom residences also available for larger families staying at the hotel. Each room had its own TV with a built in DVD player, clock radio, separate closet area and beautiful en suite bathroom (more on the latter shortly).
These rooms were immediately off a corridor that led to an open plan living space, dining area and kitchen. Therein lay our first surprise. The hotel was aware that our youngest son had turned 13 just the day before our arrival and our getaway was to celebrate this event. They took note and decorated the living area with balloons to mark the occasion. How lovely was that! And 13 balloons, too… that’s attention to detail for you!!!
What’s more, they had even gone to the trouble of making a birthday cake with his name on it, along with a bottle of Prosecco, a huge basket of fruit, orange juice and cranberry juice.
It is worth noting at this point that, despite there being a fully-equipped kitchen on hand – including 3-ring hob, microwave, dishwasher, fridge, freezer and washer dryer, all integrated and out of view – that guests can opt for an exclusive in-residence dinner event flawlessly executed by the hotel’s dedicated team of experts, ensuring a memorable evening within the comfort of their own residence.
The specially created ‘At Home with Jumeirah Living’ services offer guests a unique way to truly achieve an “at home” experience, and have been specifically designed to enable guests to enjoy the luxury London lifestyle. From organising a dinner party to setting up a home office, or stocking up on the finest groceries, everything is effortless.
As mentioned, each bedroom had its own en suite bathroom. These were partitioned so that the WC, basin and bath/shower wet room areas, could all be used separately.
Finished with large, grey slates, the bathrooms had a very contemporary feel – simple and sleek, yet very modern at the same time. The rain shower was particularly good!
Purple Water toiletries from Asprey London were provided – a range that we’ve encountered at other hotels in the past and one that consists of a refreshingly fragrant blend of citrus and spicy notes, made with essential oils including ginger, mandarin, lemon and orange flowers.
The most focal point of the hotel, close to reception, is the Atrium restaurant where both breakfast and dinner are served. Extending through multiple floors of the building and with a glass roof, this is a very light and airy space.
Although you can have dinner in your room, I’d recommend dining here also. It’s a comfortable and relaxed dining experience, using local artisanal producers in order to provide fresh, nutritionally-balanced meals with simple yet stimulating flavours. Here’s just a sample of some of the dishes you can expect.
A small appetiser of smoked salmon with cream cheese on pumpernickel.
Caprese salad with ripe plum tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil and an extra serving of avocado.
Scottish smoked salmon platter served with garden leaves.
Oven-roasted corn-fed chicken with potatoes, spinach and a mushroom sauce.
There were also Asian and Oriental dishes on the menu such as this delicious lamb shank biryani – tender lamb cooked with Indian spices.
And, for dessert, who could resist the chocolate fondant served with a cooling vanilla ice cream?
Breakfast was also informal but with dishes made to order. All the usuals could be ordered, such as cereals, fresh fruit and pastries.
I opted for my usual favourite of Eggs Benedict.
At both breakfast and dinner, staff were exceptionally friendly and courteous. It must be difficult to get the right balance between showing an interest in your guests and how they were spending their time in London, yet at the same time not being overly-intrusive on their personal affairs, yet I must say they got it just eight.
The hotel also has its own small gym which happened to be just across from our suite and so we used it on a couple of occasions.
As well as fitness equipment, there were weights, Pilates equipment, yoga mats and floor-to-ceiling mirrors.
This is a very central location close to multiple transport links. Because we were only in the capital for a short time and had a lot we wanted to pack in, we largely ended up using Uber to get around, but a number of Underground stations are within walking distance, including Bond Street, Hyde Park Corner and Green Park, to name just a few.
We headed for the Natural History Museum because we planned to see The Wider Earth, a theatre production all about the earlier years of Darwin’s career. Did you know that the Natural History Museum had its own theatre?! No, we didn’t either… but it’s in the Jerwood Gallery. Before that, though, we spent the afternoon in the main part of the museum, admiring the Stegosaurus at the entrance (the most complete skeleton of a Stegosaurus ever found – see this animation which is based on a reconstruction from the skeleton) and exploring the ‘Volcanoes and Earthquakes’ section in the Red Zone.
Before the show, we nipped out for a quick bite to eat at Squirrel in South Kensington as our youngest is pescatarian, and they seemed to have a good vegetarian selection there. Food was fresh and very healthy, but not at the expense of great taste; inexpensive, too. They had a great concept there, so hopefully we’ll see more of their ‘treehouses’ popping up around London.
Suitably refreshed and back at the Natural History Musem, we went to see The Wider Earth. It told the story of Darwin’s time on HMS Beagle, incredibly put together by a cast of just seven (I didn’t fully appreciate how few until they took their final bows!) along with some incredible puppetry and animation; it took you through the story of how a young Darwin came to arrive at his theory of evolution. In the process, I also learnt a lot about Darwin and that voyage that I never actually knew previously. The show is not running for much longer so, if you get chance to go, please do – you will not be disappointed!! Hopefully it will be the first of many similar productions for the Natural History Museum also.
Our boys are very much into their Science (my wife is a Science teacher, too) so the next day we headed back to the same area to visit the Science Museum, a close neighbour to the Natural History Museum. You can never do justice to these museums in a single day so my recommendation would to be focus on one area, and leave the rest to future visits.
One thing we did go and see during our visit was ‘A Beautiful Planet 3D‘ which was showing in the museum’s IMAX theatre. I would definitely recommend this for families as it engaging on all levels, giving a great insight into what life is like at the International Space Station.
As if we hadn’t got our museum fix, on our last day we also called at the British Museum. If you’ve not been, it’s worth going for the architecture alone – from the exterior Greek temple design of the south entrance to the inner courtyard designed by Foster and Partners (the largest covered public square in Europe).
The sole purpose of our visit to the British Museum was to go and see Lindow Man. Our boys had learnt about him at school and there was a merit at stake if they could go and find him for themselves! For those who don’t know, the human remains of Lindow Man possibly date back to the Iron Age and were found in a peat bog close to Wilmslow in Cheshire. This took me back also as I was aged 13 at the time he was found (he was then commonly referred to jokingly as ‘Pete Marsh’) and I had just finished school in Wilmslow! It was fascinating to see the remains, and the level of detail that had been preserved.
Of course, no family trip to London is complete without a visit to Hamleys!
The kids loved looking at all the various toys gadgets that are now the current craze, from Lego on the bottom floor to drones and planes on some of the uppermost floors. The staff in Hamleys are very good with the kids… and of course very good at making the merchandise look amazing!
Finally, before we returned home, we called for lunch at Ping Pong in Covent Garden. We had been before and the kids had loved the various dim sum on offer. It’s very relaxed and they have a varied menu with lots of small dishes to choose from. They have nine locations across the city so the chances are there will be one near wherever you happen to be visiting in London should you wish to give it a try.
Other nice touches
Returning to the hotel, there are some other things I want to mention so that you get a better sense of how truly special they made our stay.
On one evening we came back to a ‘movie night’ – an open hamper, stuffed with popcorn and other snacks, and a selection of DVDs to choose from, not to mention a cheese board and strawberries dipped in chocolate.
There were even specially-printed ‘ADMIT ONE’ tickets with our names on, and a ticket inviting us to telephone room service for a free pizza. How amazing is that?!
On another evening we returned to a variety of sweet treats and Oreo milkshakes. No wonder the kids loved this hotel as much as we did!
And on arrival, there were even gifts and teddies for the kids.
Two Bedroom Deluxe Suites (such as the one we stayed in) start from approximately £1,250 per night including breakfast, when taking advantage of the Advance Purchase Rate.
The best bit
I’ve stayed in many luxury London hotels but this one was more special than most for the simple reason that the staff went that extra mile with the finer details. I’ve always felt that what truly defines luxury is those special moments when services surpassed all expectations and no more is this true than at Grosvenor House Suites by Jumeirah.
The final verdict
For me, the icing on the cake was when my younger son, who had just turned 13, suddenly declared ‘this is the best birthday ever!’. As parents, we couldn’t ask for anything more than that! If you are looking to spend some time in London where you will be well and truly spoilt, then look no further…
Disclosure: Our stay was courtesy of Grosvenor House Suites by Jumeirah Living.